Metro DC Housing Market Overview 2011 01

Typical January in the Housing Market:  Cold and Slow                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

February 8, 2010                                                                                                                              

For immediate release                                                                                                                                 

Contact:  Rosemary deButts, REALTOR, MIRM    540/338-2212;

(Washington, DC) – Revised sales figures indicate that 2010 ended the year 6 percent below the total sold in 2009 in the metro DC area.  However, the year-to-date median sales price advanced 5 percent year-over-year.  January 2011 started off with flagging statistics compared to 2010 but it’s important to remember that the market was artificially stimulated at this time last year by the First Time Buyer’s Credit.                                                                                                                                                                                                          

Total sales in January 2011 failed to reach 3,000 units.  Compare January’s 2,963 sales to 4,413 in December and 3,417 in January 2010.  All of the associations in the metro area reported a decline in sales compared to last month; the smallest decline was in Washington, DC (-22 percent) and the largest decline was in Loudoun (-40 percent).  This is the normal pattern.  Compared to January of 2010, all but Washington, DC had sales declines.  PWAR had the sharpest drop, 24 percent.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

The median sales price in the metro DC area in January 2011, $299,900, was 7 percent behind December and 7 percent behind the median last January.  Medians ranged from $166,000 in Prince George’s County to $379,000 in Washington, DC.  All of the associations had monthly declines in median sales prices, ranging from -3 percent in Prince George’s to -11 percent in Loudoun.  Washington, DC’s median advanced 13 percent from last January but Prince George’s declined 10 percent.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

According to Loudoun-based real estate consultant Rosemary deButts, “The metro DC area posted the highest Case-Shiller® Home Price Index in November of the twenty largest markets in the country, for the 18th consecutive month.  This is a wonderful place to make real estate investments even if normal cyclical trends sometimes cloud the picture.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

For example, the days on market indicator worsened in January.  At 79 days for the entire metro area, it was 12 percent higher on both a month-over-month and a month-over-year basis.  The average ranged from 59 days in PWAR to 92 days in Prince George’s County last month.  The Prince William area had the lowest average last month but the highest month-over-year increase (vs. 35 days in January 2010, +50 percent).  As is typical, all associations had month-over-month increases as winter settled in last month.                                                                                                                                                                                                            

The average close price to original list price ratio varied significantly by area, it was 89.8 percent in Prince George’s in January and 95.8 percent in PWAR.  The metro area average was 92.9 percent, down from 93.1 percent in December and 93.3 last January.                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Detached units accounted for 48 percent of the total sales in January with an average close price of $455,675.  This average close price was 10 percent below the average last month but 6 percent higher than the average last January.  Attached homes amounted to 34 percent of total sales and again, the average close price ($313,763) fell compared to last month but increased compared to last January (-6 percent and +7 percent respectively).  Condo sales represented 18 percent of the market.  Average close prices for condos, $254,827, declined 7 percent from December and 5 percent from January 2011.                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

There was an uptick in the share of distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales) in January.  All areas had increases compared to last month but they all had decreases from last January.  The metro area share was 39.6 percent in January.  Compare that to 32.8 percent in December and a significant 45.5 percent last January.  The area with the lowest percentage of distressed sales was NVAR (28.6 percent) and the highest was in Prince George’s (66 percent).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

 Rosemary deButts further commented, “The market actually performed exactly as expected.  Activity in January is always slow and it was bound to be slower than last year given that the market is no longer artificially stimulated by the First Time Buyer’s Credit.” ###                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Rosemary deButts is a consultant in the home building industry and a REALTOR® associated with 1757 Real Estate Company in Leesburg, Virginia.  She serves as the housing analyst for the Virginia Association of REALTORS®. Rosemary is certified by the National Association of REALTORS® as a Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource.  With a long career in the housing industry, she is also a Member, Institute of Residential Marketing (MIRM), a prestigious new homes marketing designation issued by the National Association of Home Builders.                                                                                            

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